Sometimes I feel like just taking my camera out in to nature and see what types of great photos I can get. But you know it’s a skill to go out in to nowhere and try to find a photo that meets your criteria. You want to get great photos of nature, but, how do you just come up with great photos when the scenery, the clouds, the weather don’t just turn out.
Today, I have found a video that I think tells us how one photographer (Simon Booth) just goes out and finds amazing photos to take regardless of the conditions. That to me is a special exercise called: “LEARNING TO SEE”.
I have done several courses in just that subject. There are things all around us, if we just learn to look around us, and find the right photo. I have developed a special course on “LEARNING TO “SEE” A PHOTO, THEN CREATE YOUR MASTERPIECE”. JUST “CLICK HERE” To order your special download copy now
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The above video is so good, because he can find a photo, almost everywhere he goes. For more information also go to: CLICK HERE – How to make your photos truly unforgettable.
This article today comes from Adam Williams who submitted this article to “picturecorrect”. Amazing insights are certainly worth sharing.
After a few minor photo competition successes, I entered the 2013 Focus Awards absolutely full of confidence, my ego had taken hold and all I could think about was all the recognition and prizes I was going to win.
You guessed it, it was an absolute fail!
However, failure is one of my key inspirations and every time it happens (fairly often) the cogs in my mind start spinning as I try to figure out how to never let it happen again.
At the time, I was still a carpenter/builder and as I went about the rest of the day my mind was elsewhere contemplating how I could improve my chances of photo competition success in the future.
Then an idea struck me, a lightbulb moment, what if the winning photo competition galleries, the top 20/50/100 scoring photos that are always published on the relevant competition websites contained a pattern as to which photos might be more likely to be successful in a photo competition.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I raced home, turned on the computer, opened an Excel spreadsheet and created a series of columns based on photographic criteria.
Great Light, Black and White, High Saturation, etc, etc
I then scoured the galleries of my favorite photo competitions, one by one I viewed each image and ticked the various boxes on my excel spreadsheet.
I was hoping to see patterns of specific photographic criteria common to the top-scoring photos.
Not only did I find a series of patterns, their significance blew my mind.
There were three very important photographic elements found within almost all of the winning photos, so much so, if your photos didn’t contain at least two of these three elements it was almost impossible to win photo competitions.
3 Important Photographic Elements:
Enter Photo Competitions with the unfair advantage!
Have you ever noticed that the same handful of photographers seem to win all the high profile photo competitions?
It’s true, the same names tend to end up on the winner’s list time and time again.
Photo competitions are no different from any other competition in the fact that if it is your first time entering you are probably not going to be all that great. To be great in any competition generally requires figuring out the subtleties of success.
So what can we do to give ourselves the best chance of winning?
The reason the same photographers tend to always win is that after several years of entering they have figured out what works and what doesn’t.
Keep in mind, like me, those winners once were lousy at photo competitions too.
But, that kind of experience comes at a cost. They have probably, entered their best 4 or more photos into at least 5 photo competitions per year, over a period of 2-3 years. If we do the math at an average of $25usd per photo that kind of experience is likely to cost well over $1000.
What if I told you that you already have GOLD-winning photos in your collection?
Yes 100%, you already have photos in your collection that have the potential to achieve awards at the highest levels and win the biggest international photo competitions!
How do I know this?
Over the years, I have taught Photoshop to thousands of passionate photographers of all levels, from absolute beginners to experienced professionals.
And the one thing they all have in common is GOLD-worthy photos in their collections.
I bet your wondering, how can absolute beginners and experienced professionals both be at the same level?
You are right; they are not. However, without fail, no matter the skill level I could always find photos with GOLD level potential on the hard drives of every single photographer that I have taught.
Granted, the beginners generally had fewer gold-potential photos than the more experienced photographers; however, regardless of skill or experience, I could always find the diamonds among the rough.
Therefore, I am 100% sure that you too have photos of the highest level in your collection; but, which ones are they?
If you are like me, you probably have 20,000 – 200,000 photos on your hard drives.
And if you have entered a competition before you might know that your favorite photo is often the one the scores the lowest. Just because we like it doesn’t mean it will do well in a photo competition.
We should absolutely take photos to please ourselves, however, to be successful in photo competitions we need to put our emotions aside and choose photos that will please the judges.
Image selection is the most important skill you can learn to winning photo contests.
Not only is selecting the right photos critical to doing well in photo competitions, but it is also the single most important skill in building your reputation as an exceptional photographer.
All photographers of all skill levels have both brilliant and bad photos in their collections. Yes, the more skill and experience the photographer has will generally result in a higher ratio of brilliant over bad images.
That being said, if both the beginners and the best photographers have both brilliant and bad photos to choose from, then there can be no doubt that one of the most important skills in becoming an exceptional photographer is image selection.
In other words, your reputation as a photographer is directly related to the quality of the photos you choose to share.
Having a better understanding of what makes a great photo, along with being more critical and more selective about which photos you share, is likely to elevate your standing as a photographer more than any other skill.
Exceptional photographers only share exceptional photos! (When was the last time your favorite photographer shared a bad photo?)
You will be able to take the knowledge you learn in this course and use it to build a reputation as an exceptional photographer by being more selective and refined about the photos you share.
In this short video course, I will teach you the key criteria that judges tend to favor and show you how to find those winning images within your own photo collection.
When we look at certain photos, it is obvious that they can touch your soul somehow. We all have certain photos that stir the soul, and make you think about life, about your future, or even something spiritual, something about God. When I go through this blog, it is obvious that I may present a lot of photos that make me think about God’s existence, such as the photo above. Sometime I think that God created sunsets to remind us that he has something beautiful for all of us to enjoy, especially if we follow him.
INSPIRATIONAL PHOTOS WILL CAUSE YOU TO DO SOME SERIOUS THINKING:
That serious thinking is all about your life, and your future. Do you feel your life is worthwhile? What can you do to turn your life around and feel the joy of doing good? There are so many things that photos can really do for you. Have you ever thought of photography as something that can inspire those viewers? Imagine the impact you can have on people’s lives.
NOW ADD AN INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT TO YOUR PHOTOS:
Here is an example of something you can do with your own photos. Make sure the photo you use has the ability to put a quote on the photo for impact. Sometimes however, the quote you use should be small so you can not only enjoy the quote but the photo too.
MORE IMPACT WILL COME IF YOU HAVE THE QUOTE NOT INTERFERE WITH THE SUBJECT:
In creating your own inspirational photo, find a place on the photo that doesn’t interfere with the subject. The viewer will ponder the message, plus the subject or beauty of the photo. If you want to get good at this type of work, then get real good at using photos that use “minimalism”, which is a photo that has a lot of area around the subject. A course was developed for that. Go here
YOU CAN DEVELOP THE SKILLS TO TOUCH PEOPLE’S LIVES:
You were put on this earth to help people and to reach your highest potential, and to help others reach their potential. This is a way to make that happen. And to use your own photos makes it even better.
When looking for a photo to take, think also about the lighting that is available. For example, many people think that a sunset photo will be the most beautiful, but sometimes waiting until twilight will give you a special feeling, and also a place to put a quote.
HOW TO PUT A QUOTE ON A PHOTO:
There are many apps available for putting quotes or anything on photos. I use Amazon Photos, to have all my photos in one place, plus they have in the editing function of the photo, a place to click, and add a text. This works well. If you have Adobe Photoshop, you can also do that there as well (and fix anything you want to do to your photo). I use an app from PicsArt. It seems so easy to just add a text professionally on a photo.
TAKING PHOTOS OF SACRED IMAGES OR STATUES:
Here is my thought on taking photos of sacred images, and buildings, and statues, etc. There are things in some sacred buildings, that you never see photos (or at least hardly see). Such as, one of the most impressive things I saw once was touring a beautiful Catholic church and all around the benches were statues of the 12 Apostles. It really was beautiful, but I have never seen any pictures of them before. Unless you ask someone if it’s alright to take a photo of something sacred, then don’t do it. But, if it’s outside, or designed for tourists to view, then generally, I would think it’s ok. Such as:
This is an art! How you take the photos are something worth studying. But the impressions you make to people are powerful. Lighting is the key, and certain lighting has an effect that other lighting does not have, so study that with photos you can see and study. This is certainly some art form that people enjoy because of the amount of lives you can touch.
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Minimalist photography seems to be an art that has taken off lately. And I am one that really likes this type of photography. This is a simple photo to do, as well as very attractive to those looking at the photo.
What is minimalist photography, and how can you capture stunning minimalist photos?
Minimalism is a popular artistic technique, and it’s a great way to spice up your images. (It’s also a good way to generate lots of attention on social media.) But beginners often struggle to get to grips with minimalism, which is where this article comes in handy.
WHAT IS MINIMALIST PHOTOGRAPHY?
Minimalist photography, also known as minimalism photography, is a type of image-making that relies on simplistic compositions, heavy use of empty space, and elimination of clutter.
Thanks to their simplicity, minimalistic photos often have a characteristically meditative effect:
Note that minimalist photos generally feature some form of main subject (e.g., the boat in the image above). But subject presence is kept to a minimum; here, minimalist photographers often zoom out for a small-in-the-frame subject surrounded by empty space.
Some photographers are pure minimalists, choosing to capture images that are as simple as possible (e.g., a single tree surrounded by white snow). But other photographers incorporate minimalistic elements into their work alongside non-minimalistic elements. Either approach is fine – just do what feels right!
Key elements of minimalist photography:
Minimalism can be applied to pretty much every genre of photography, including portrait, landscape, still life, architecture, and even street shooting. But minimalist photos do have a few key characteristics:
Negative space. Minimalist photos tend to feature lots of empty, or negative, space. Negative space is composed of expanses of pure color or texture, such as a broad stretch of ocean or a grassy lawn. (And featureless white skies are a minimalist staple!)
A small main subject. Minimalist compositions keep the subject small in the frame so that they’re dwarfed by negative space. As I discuss below, this can be done with a wide-angle lens or by shooting from a distance. In cases where the main subject isn’t small in the frame, it should be exceptionally simple (e.g., a few streaks of paint on a wall).
Limited clutter. Minimalism emphasizes simplicity, and minimalist photos tend to feature a main subject, lots of empty space, and nothing else. Minimalist photographers carefully refine their compositions until no extra elements – such as poles or telephone lines in the background – exist. The more clutter you can eliminate from your shots, the more minimalist they’ll be.
If you like, you can look at the above list as a recipe for minimalist photos. As long as you include all three items, you’ll end up with a decent minimalist shot – and as you become more familiar with minimalist compositions, your results will become more and more powerful.
TIPS TO WATCH FOR WHEN SHOOTING MINIMALIST PHOTOS:
As I have been looking at photos that I think are the best minimalist photos, I was surprised to find out that most people follow these rules:
A wide field of view
Plenty of distance between yourself and your subject
ONE THING PHOTOGRAPHERS MISS IN MINIMALISM:
The rules of composition are often missed in minimalist photos. I went through quite a few photos where the subject was right in the middle of the frame. I found no artistic value to this, mostly because it is just so much static to a photo when the subject is right in the middle. PLEASE! use the RULE OF THIRDS, when taking photos with minimalism. See: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/12/rules-of-photography/
Another meaning for minimalist photography is “Negative Space”. As you will notice the one thing that you need to accomplish the minimalism, is to find a lot of space around the subject. I have put an article like that together already. Check this out: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/01/understanding-negative-space/
Here are just a few photos I have found that bring out the best ideas in Minimalist photography:
As the top half of the world goes into spring and then summer, a lot of photographers are hoping they get out and take some incredible photos of Wildlife. Granted, these are exciting photos, but, if there is one thing you can do to increase the value of your wildlife photos, then capture those eyes!
CAPTURING EYE CONTACT
It seems it’s not so easy to capture the eyes on animals. You can’t just say: “Hey! Look here!” What you will need to do is to develop a certain amount of patience with your photo, but, make sure the eyes are in focus. Without that, your photo could lose it’s “grab”. (Grabbing attention from animals is what you want) When you have an animal that is within voice distance, then, depending on the animal, you may need to make a soft sound, not a sharp, noisy sound, but something that will get them to turn their head towards you.
NOT ALL EYES NEED TO BE LOOKING AT YOU
Some animals work best by getting a side-shot of their head, because their eyes are on the side of their head. But, sometimes it can be more effective if the animal is looking in a different direction.
WATCH THE LIGHTING
To get this right, watch your lighting very carefully (as you should in all photos). To begin with, photograph your subjects when the light is soft and even to eliminate harsh shadows across the face of the subject. This is a simple matter of shooting early or late in the day when the sun is low, or on cloudy days when shadows are not a problem.
Photography is art! Now, available on this website, beautiful artistic photos are available for sale. Take a look at them, and remember more photo art coming soon. Go to:
As with all photography, these rules for getting the best photos of the animals with eyes, can be broken if you have an opportunity where the photo can look as good if not better without the eyes. You have to be the judge, but look for those opportunities to get the best picture you can.
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The famed San Fransisco Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world. But, we don’t all have bridges like that to take pictures of. So, what about the little small bridges located in a city park?
There are the beautiful bridges in the botanical gardens, city gardens, etc. Is there any special trick to taking photos of bridges? My question is more like: How do you make bridge photos artistic?
USE THE COMPOSITION RULE OF “LEADING LINES”
Bridges come in a variety of shapes and ideas. If we put together a blog to get a collection of different bridges, we would have an amazing variety. Let’s just look at a few photos of bridges:
Would you walk across that bridge? Hundreds of people do every day.
The beauty of this photo is that it just shows the massiveness of how the bridge is constructed. An interesting viewpoint.
And then there is the photo of the beautiful lighted bridge over a calm river. A sight-seeing favorite.
Then the old eastern U.S. bridges that were covered. Magnificent history.
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Even natural bridges are a part of our life.
TAKE PICTURES OF BRIDGES AS DIAGONAL LINES.
The best bridge photos are ones that use the composition rule of “Leading Lines”. When you take a picture of a bridge, look and see how you can get some diagonal leading lines to your photo.
One thing that is missing in photography, and I discovered this many years ago, is the photo of the photographer. You spend all your time behind the camera, taking pictures of your family and friends, and you are never in the photo. What photo does your family use if you pass away? Or, even how do you promote yourself, when no one knows what you look like?
It is important to have pictures of yourself, so you can promote your photography business. If you have thought of different ideas of how you want to have your self viewed, then the next step is to figure out how to do it, without someone else’s help. Let’s go through a few ideas so you get it right, and you can actually have fun at it.
1- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Of course the first thing people think of when doing a self portrait is using the “Self timer” built in to the camera. That is one thing that can work for sure, but have you thought about the issues with using the self timer?
Usually with a self timer mode on cameras today, you have 2 options: have it shoot in 2 seconds (that may not work), and then 10 seconds. And if you use the 10 second timer, that last 2 seconds will give you a sound of faster beeps so you know it’s coming soon. That is the best one to use, if you want to use the self timer.
However, this is inconvenient and can lead to a lot of frantic running, adjusting, and posing. That’s why I highly recommend you purchase a remote shutter release, which won’t cost too much and will allow you to fire your camera from a distance.
USE A REMOTE SHUTTER RELEASE TO DO THIS RIGHT:
These remote shutter buttons will work so much better. Check in to your favorite camera store to see how much they cost. It’s not much. The real beauty to these little devices is that you can get yourself all set up, and when it’s the right pose, the right settings, the right time, then you just push this button.
2- USE HOBBIES OR ART IDEAS TO INCLUDE IN THE PHOTO
When taking photos of yourself, you could include things that you really love or interests you. If you are in to art, you could include an art piece in your photo. If you want to just show that you are a photographer, then be creative with the photo, but, don’t be strange about it. People will want to see a normal photo, nothing scary, and something that is impressive.
Here are some photos of self images that I thought were good:
3- Watch your background before you take the picture
The photo above shows how awful it could look if you don’t watch the background. And then a corrected photo.
Sometimes it is something you just don’t think about when taking self portraits, but the background can ruin a good photo. So watch for that.
4- How should you dress for a self portrait?
Do you want to look professional in your self portrait? Do you want to dress casual? These are the questions you should ask, and then make sure you dress the part. Think that thousands of people may see your picture. How do you want to look for that?
5- Look at your photos upon completion
You are biggest critic. You need to look at the finished products and critique the photo. Is it how you want it? Is it better than you expected? Then if it is not how you want it, then you still have time to fix it.
Taking pictures of hands, and have them look good is a mystery to some photographers. Why is it so hard to make “hands” look so graceful, or to not look ugly? That is a question that a lot of portrait photographers struggle with. What to do with those hands?
What to do with your model’s hands is the one thing most photographers and their models get flustered with. Hands can feel like the leftovers of a pose but giving your models relaxed and natural looking hand poses is going to make your portraits look really polished. In fact, skillful hand placement is one of the abilities that separate an experienced photographer from a beginner.
HOW TO POSE HANDS:
If you struggle with posing hands, here is one exercise to start doing right now: Start looking at ads with just hands in them. You are aware of those. That would be the “Lotion” ads, or the “holding something” with hands, etc. They use people who are “hand models” who know how to make their hands look gorgeous, or masculine. There is an art to doing hand modeling.
Now you are probably not going to do much “hand modeling”, but, if you can learn a few tips about hand modeling, then you can work with your portraits, and make that extra little work to make the portrait better. Here we go:
Clean nails are a must. I always ask my models to at the very least have clean nails and clear nail polish for women.
If your model is wearing makeup on their face, remember to add a bit of bronzer to hands, as nothing looks worse than hands that are three shades lighter or darker than rest of body or face.
Watch out for clenched hands, which is a common instinct to help with nerves but it doesn’t photograph well!
Giving your model something to do with their hands helps create a natural looking pose. Putting hands in pockets, doing up buttons or rubbing hands together can all create a natural pose for hands.
2 points to photographing hands:
Try to avoid taking a photo with the back of the hand showing. Have the person put their hands so you photograph the side of their hand, like that above.
Never have the fingers, or any joints bend far. You want just a slight bend to each joint so that it seems more graceful. No one likes to see hands where the fingers look like they are about to break.
Ideas about posing men’s hands:
Notice that good hand posing with men is quite different than women’s hands. Here you can see that it is ok to see the back of their hands. Have the man do something with his hands, and you will have a good “hand pose”. This “soccer goalie” pose is a classic “go to” pose for most men when they are not given any direction. This is a sign that they are feeling vulnerable and insecure and, thus protecting their masculinity. There are many alternatives to the soccer goalie pose. Try asking your model to place hands in pockets, hanging them from belt hoops, or pretending to adjust an item of clothing.
When posing groups, I like to ask each of my models to do something different with their hands because I think it makes the portrait look more dynamic.
Gina Milicia helped in putting this article together. She has been a professional photographer for almost 30 years. Most of these photos are also compliments of Gina. Thanks Gina
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